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Justice AIS Cheema moves Supreme Court challenging reduction of his tenure as acting chairperson of NCLAT

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The Supreme Court CJI will hear an appeal by Justice (Retd.) Ashok Iqbal Singh Cheema challenging reduction of his tenure as officiating Chairperson of NCLAT saying arbitrary order from Govt to remove him from his post violates independence of the judiciary.

According to the plea, the petitioner has challenged the arbitrary removal by an order which was passed at 7:30PM, on Sep 10, and termed the same as violating the independence of the Judiciary. 

Tomorrow, the plea will be heard by the bench which also comprises of Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli. 

Earlier this year, the term of Justice Cheema as Judicial Member of NCLAT was extended till he attained the age of 67 years on September 21, 2021. On April 18, this year he was named as the officiating Chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). And worked as an Acting Chairperson of NCLAT from April 19, 2021 and his last day at the appellate tribunal was September 10.

On September 11, Hon’ble Justice M Venugopal took over as Acting Chairperson of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT)

Also Read: Delhi High Court adjourns hearing in plea seeking direction to Centre to appoint chairperson to PMLA Appellate Tribunal

Today, during the hearing before the CJI bench in a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of various provisions of the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, including Sections 3(1), 3(7), 5 and 7(1). The CJI has also mentioned to the Attorney General.

“There is one matter which Mr Datar has filed. In advance we are telling you that you have to appear. It says that 10 days before his retirement Mr Cheema, NCLAT chairman, hurriedly Mr Venugopal has been appointed. I don’t know how it is happened,”

-remarked by the CJI. 

Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar today said, Milords! i just have one prayer that the government should not add the phrase “Untill further orders” in the appointment letter for the tenure of member appointed to the tribunals…”

He said, all appointments which have been made now, there is a disturbing trend which needs to end. “The appointment shall be made according to the act, i.e., for 4 years or untill 67 years of age of members,” he added. 

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